Local resistance: the next move in blocking AFFH

Readers may recall that last year, the House passed the Gosar Amendment that would have defunded President Obama’s “affirmatively furthering fair housing” (AFFH) rule. Unfortunately, Speaker Paul Ryan abandoned the Gosar Amendment during the negotiations over the Omnibus spending bill. Team Ryan loves to blame John Boehner for the disastrous Omnibus. But the Boehner-led House passed the Gosar Amendment. It was Speaker Ryan who gave it away, leaving us with a leftist power-grab of the same order of magnitude as Obamacare.

What, then, is the next move against AFFH? Stanley Kurtz, who has led the charge against it from the beginning ( and before) urges a nationwide campaign to insist that local governments turn down money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Only those localities that accept HUD money are subject to the AFFH rule. Thus, by turning that money down, they preserve their right to exercise the traditional role of local governments. In other words, citizens remain free, through their elected officials, to make most the important decisions about how they will live (though the feds still can be expected to attack that right through Fair Housing suits). Otherwise, they cede that right to the feds.

Here are the steps Kurtz proposes to thwart AFFH in one’s community:

First, find out if your local government accepts grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Second, if your city, town, suburb, or county does take HUD money, press your local leaders to refuse all future HUD grants. Otherwise your hometown will fall under the federal boot—at least it will if Hillary Clinton wins in 2016. Only a Republican president would rescind Obama’s AFFH rule. So if a Democrat wins the presidency in 2016, Obama will have succeeded in bringing local government in the United States under the effective control of the feds.

How can you find out if your locality takes HUD money?

To find out if your hometown has been taking money from HUD’s largest and most popular program, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), go to Obamazone.org, plug in your state, and search for CDBG grants for your area. (Keep in mind that recipients of several other HUD grants—HOME, ESA, and HOPWA—are also required to use the AFFH Assessment Tool.) If your city, town, or county currently takes HUD money, organize your neighbors and get your locality to stop applying for new housing grants.

HUD grants can be pretty substantial. How realistic is it to expect a local government to spurn them? Kurtz offers grounds for optimism:

After Obama’s release of the finalized AFFH rule in July of 2015, a group of concerned citizens in Douglas County, Colorado organized to stop their area from applying for HUD money, and set up a website to encourage national opposition to AFFH.

Goffstown, New Hampshire has also turned down HUD money in response to AFFH. “Live free or die,” as they once liked to say in the Granite State.

Westchester County, New York no longer takes HUD money, either. It learned its lesson the hard way, as a victim of massive government intrusion into its zoning practices.

Here, then, is Kurtz’s prescription:

We need a Tea Party revival. The same kind of grassroots movement that poured into congressional town halls to protest Obamacare needs to pour into town councils and county board meetings across this country to force local governments to stop taking HUD money.

Even if such a movement produces only some successes, it could shift the political landscape by propelling the issue into the public consciousness and, critically, into the presidential race. It could, Kurtz’s words:

Forc[e] a dangerous issue for the Democrats into the open and mobilizing the public against both Obama’s “fundamental transformation” and Hillary Clinton’s election (while reminding us that these are really the same thing). It’s a tall order, but if we don’t soon see this kind of popular movement, you can kiss local government in America good-bye.

(Emphasis added)

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